Friday, June 18, 2021

A crucial national endeavour

On Friday, June 18, 2021 at 7:24 am by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
But the auction house has now agreed to postpone the auctions to give Friends of the National Libraries (FNL) charity the chance to raise the £15million necessary to keep the Honresfield Library collection together and stop it disappearing from public view.
A private library of English literature of such significance has not been placed on the open market for many decades and is unlikely to appear again.
The charity, the only one in the UK that focuses on saving written and printed heritage, hopes the collection can be shared across Britain. If successful, FNL says it would pass ownership of each item to the appropriate national, regional and specialist institution to ensure the widest possible public benefit.
The Honresfield collection has been largely inaccessible for the last 80 years, its contents examined only by a few trusted scholars. FNL's ambitious bid is the first national arts appeal of its kind. [...]John Scally, trustee of the FNL and chief executive of the National Library of Scotland, said: 'Once in a generation, a collection of books and manuscripts appears from almost nowhere that is met with a mixture of awe and stunned silence, followed by concerted action to bring it into public ownership.'The UK-wide consortium is determined to raise the funds to ensure we can save the Honresfield Library for everyone.'Richard Ovenden, trustee of the FNL and Bodley's Librarian at the Bodleian Libraries, said: 'Literature and the creative use of the English language and its dialects have been among the great contributions made by the people of these islands.'Now is a time to act together, to preserve and share some of the greatest examples of this heritage.'Charles Sebag-Montefiore, trustee and treasurer of FNL, said: 'FNL is thrilled to be able to take the lead in saving the Honresfield Library. FNL is working with a consortium of institutional funders and individual philanthropists to raise the substantial funds need to secure this extraordinary collection for the benefit of everyone in the UK.'This is a crucial national endeavour to raise enough funds to keep this unique treasure trove in Britain. This is cultural levelling up, as the items will be spread across the UK from Yorkshire to Edinburgh, Oxford and London.' (Jennifer Ruby)
Yorkshire Live lists several reasons why living in Bradford is cool and one of them is
The dramatic surrounding hills which inspired the resident Bronte sisters (Dave Himelfield and Helen Whitehouse)
The Boston Globe interviews poet Michael Robbins.
BOOKS: Do you read novels as well?
ROBBINS: I read a lot earlier in the pandemic. I had all this time so I read a bunch I’d been meaning to for years. Cervantes’s “Don Quixote,” Mikhail Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita,” some Balzac and I reread Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” I started reading Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” but everyone started dying of a disease. I couldn’t deal with that at the time. (Amy Sutherland)
InfoLibre (Spain) reviews the Spanish translation of Genius and Ink: Virginia Woolf on How to Read.
En ellos se encuentran las impresiones de Woolf sobre Charlotte Brontë, a la que veía como una pionera y un referente, o sobre George Eliot, pero no parece hablar tanto en ellos la escritora como la lectora. Si es que ambas identidades pueden disociarse. (Clara Morales) (Translation)
A new Brontë-related thesis:
Noisy Transgressions: Gendered Noise, Female Voices, and Noisy Narration in Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Brianna Phillips
Georgia College, 2021

This thesis re-evaluates Anne Brontë’s critically undervalued novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) through its noisy women. By joining the fields of narratology and noise studies, I argue for the subversive noisiness of a novel that has been overwhelmingly dismissed by critics as a text of female silence, subjugation, and subordination. However, by offering a soundscape of gendered noise and proliferating female voices, Brontë privileges the sounds of women’s voices in such a way that female noise “re-voices” the masculine origins of the novel (Gilbert Markham’s frame narrative). Contrary to traditional readings of Brontë’s heroine, Helen Huntingdon proves subversively noisy on two levels: her verbal interventions in noisy drawing rooms and her noisy narration through her diary and letters. I read both instances as sources of noise in the novel and argue for Anne Brontë’s significant role in constructing a powerfully noisy (female)Victorian novel. In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, women make noise against paternal figures and paternal narratives that seek to silence them. With its drawing rooms filled with the sonic violence of drunken men and its two gendered narratives (Helen and Gilbert’s competing accounts) filled with narrative violence, the novel proves overwhelmingly noisy on multiple levels. However, because of the deafening nature of female noise, Helen Huntingdon conversely imprisons the male voice in her narrative and overwhelms male voices with her noise, undoing the male frame that threatens her imprisonment.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Thursday, June 17, 2021 3:22 pm by Cristina in , ,    No comments
We have an update about the Honresfeld (well, now it's Honresfield all over the place but it was always Honresfeld) Library set to be auctioned at Sotheby's. Seeing that the UK government's regard for culture is zilch, a 'consortium' has got together to try and save the treasures for nation. So far they have at least got Sotheby's to postpone the auction so that they have time to raise the millions of pounds needed. This is epic and will be even more so if they succeed, which we sincerely hope they will do.

From the British Library to the Brontë Parsonage Museum, a consortium of libraries and museums have come together in an “unprecedented” effort to raise £15m and save an “astonishingly important” set of literary manuscripts for the nation. [...]
The initiative to prevent the “priceless” manuscripts by authors including the Brontë sisters, Jane Austen, Walter Scott and Robert Burns from falling into private hands is being led by the charity Friends of the National Libraries (FNL). It includes institutions such as the Bodleian, the British Library and the National Library of Scotland; and smaller organisations such as Abbotsford, the home of Walter Scott in Melrose; Jane Austen’s House in Chawton; the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth; and the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway.
The FNL is in discussions with both private philanthropists and public funders as it looks to raise the purchase price of £15m for the entire Honresfield library. It is also launching a crowdfunding appeal. [...]
According to the FNL, a private library of British literature of such significance has not been placed on the open market for many decades and us unlikely to appear again.
While the FNL raises the funds, the vendors and Sotheby’s have agreed to postpone the auction for the first part of the library, which had been planned for July, in order that the money can be raised for the entire library to be preserved as a collection for the nation. The FNL intends that, once purchased, each individual item be passed to the appropriate institution across the UK – so the Austen letters could reside in Hampshire, the Brontë material in Haworth, and the Scott manuscripts in Roxburghshire, for example.
“Once in a generation, a collection of books and manuscripts appears from almost nowhere that is met with a mixture of awe and stunned silence, followed by concerted action to bring it into public ownership,” said John Scally, trustee of the FNL and national librarian and chief executive of the National Library of Scotland. “The UK-wide consortium is determined to raise the funds to ensure we can save the Honresfield library for everyone to share and enjoy.”
Charles Sebag-Montefiore, trustee and treasurer of FNL, described the charity’s plans as “a crucial national endeavour to raise enough funds to keep this unique treasure trove in Britain”.
The consortium was formed after the Brontë Society raised the alarm about the potential sale of the manuscripts, describing it last month as a “calculated act of heritage dispersal”. As more institutions got involved with the campaign, the FNL was approached.
“We’ve been able to come up with a different kind of model – a library which is an astonishing time capsule in itself, preserved in the public interest, but distributed around the country,” said Oxford academic Kathryn Sutherland, who is working on the initiative.
Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s English literature and historical manuscripts specialist, said the auction house was “pleased to play our part in this potential outcome for this great library”.
“This proposed acquisition is a fitting tribute to the Law brothers’ voracious literary interests and their family’s excellent care of this material for over a century. The unprecedented initiative is testament to the continued power of literature to inspire the public so many years after these writers first put pen to paper,” he added. (Alison Flood)

Members of the public who wish to contribute to this once-in-a-lifetime effort can find the crowdfunding site here.
The Spectator features this year's Drawing Biennial shows and highlights a couple of the drawings by Conrad Atkinson.
But wit is most succinctly expressed in the drawing itself, as in Conrad Atkinson’s pair of ‘Shopping Trolleys’ for Emily Brontë and Sylvia Plath, one loaded with butterflies, birds and dried leaves, the other with blackened weeds and a baleful cat. (Laura Gascoigne)
Here it is on the Drawing Biennial website:

Source

Year 2009
Medium Coloured pencil, watercolour, printing, and acrylic paint on paper
Dimensions 29.1 x 20.4 cm

ABOUT THE WORK
This drawing is part of a sequence of drawings about the shopping trollies of famous writers, mostly poets, which will be shown next year (about 20). It is harder to humanise people who have been “mummified” by being called “great artists”. They are very normal people.
Keighley News discusses the idea of creating a ‘film studio of the north’in West Yorkshire.
Such a studio could be a huge boost for Keighley and the rest of the Bradford district, which has been used for numerous film and TV productions over the years. Dalton Mills, the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and Haworth – with its Brontë connections ­– are all popular locations. (Alistair Shand)
New Statesman reviews Ben Wheatley’s In the Earth while looking back on the director's previous film, last year's adaptation of Rebecca for Netflix.
Ben Wheatley’s In the Earth is, I am happy to report, at least a notable improvement on his remake of Rebecca. That disaster, released relatively quietly in October last year, marked a low point in the changeable, unusual career of a director at first fated for success as a cult hero. Bright and flat, too evidently made for Netflix in its TV-movie slickness, it had neither style nor substance, doing little other than allowing critics to draw unflattering parallels with the film by Alfred Hitchcock.
Most curiously, the screenwriters of Wheatley’s version had elected to apply an awkward lacquer of girl power to the famous final lines of Daphne du Maurier’s novel, making the unnamed narrator revel in “the woman I am now” before suggesting that the love of her secretive, murdering husband had endowed her life with meaning. One imagines we are due a Jane Eyre, also helmed by Netflix, in which Rochester’s mad wife escapes the attic in search of empowerment and a career. (Philippa Snow)
Fodor's Travel recommends visiting Bakewell in Derbyshire as one of the '15 Most Picturesque Small Towns in England'.
Bakewell is where the 18th century comes to life. The old stomping grounds of Jane Austen are perfect for a day of sampling fresh markets finds, devouring a Bakewell pudding from the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, and finishing it off with a spot of tea. But there’s more than gluttony to satisfy here. Visit the stately home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and Haddon Hall—one of the oldest houses in England. If things are starting to look familiar, your hunches are right—both served as quintessential English backdrops for films such as Pride and Prejudice, The Princess Bride, and Jane Eyre. (Candace Salters)
Shemazing asks readers to join in in a reading challenge for the summer which includes
A classic you always said you’d read
We all have them. ‘1984’, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘Wuthering Heights’ – we’ve nodded vaguely when asked about them, or skipped them on reading lists from our school days but this summer is finally the summer you’re going to get around to it! (Fiona Murphy)
De Groene Amsterdammer (Netherlands) has an article on Gothic terror.
Natuurlijk is het not done om hier uit te leggen wie precies op welke wijze betrokken was bij de moord. Wel wil ik weer benadrukken dat Banville niet alleen een doortrapt literair spel speelt met het detectivegenre maar ook niet schroomt allerlei allusies op beroemde verhalen in te bouwen. Ik noem slechts een paar negentiende-eeuwse voorbeelden: The Fall of the House of Usher van de oervader van de detective Edgar Allan Poe, Jane Eyre van Charlotte Brontë en Wuthering Heights van haar zus Emily Brontë. En dat de koloniale en gewelddadige geschiedenis van Moeder Ierland – de wrijving tussen protestanten en katholieken – dankzij Banville subtiel verweven raakt met de moordzaak behoeft geen commentaar. (Graa Boomsma) (Translation)
ActuaLitté has an article (France) on the auctioning of the Honresfeld Library. Eminetra recommends Jane Eyre as one of the '10 Books Everyone Should Read Before They Turn 30' while Libreriamo (Italy) highlights the love story at the heart of it. Heathcliff is one of literature's three anti-heroes according to Diário Gaúcho (Brazil).

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 11:14 pm by M. in , ,    No comments

Thanks to Helen MacEwan for letting us republish this entry first published at the Brussels Brontë Blog.

A new book shines the spotlight on the couple who recommended the Pensionnat Heger to the Brontës and found Charlotte and Emily difficult guests at Sunday lunches in their home in Brussels.

Until their great-great-granddaughter Monica Kendall determined to throw light on them, Evan and Eliza Jenkins were fairly shadowy figures in the Brontës’ story. The few references to them in Brontë biographies leave a vague impression of a couple who were pillars of the British community in Brussels, no doubt, and well-meaning in their standing invitation to Charlotte and Emily to Sunday lunch at their home, but … didn’t the sisters find them rather dull? Biographers seem to hint at this, even though the information hitherto given on Mr and Mrs Jenkins is too sparse for any clear picture of them to emerge.

And yet their importance in the Brontës’ Brussels adventure is clear from the letter in which Charlotte first broached the project to her Aunt Branwell. Referring to her Yorkshire friend Martha Taylor, who was studying at the Château de Koekelberg school in Brussels, Charlotte writes:

‘If I wrote to her [Martha], she, with the assistance of Mrs. Jenkins, the wife of the British Consul, would be able to secure me a cheap, decent residence and respectable protection.’

Evan Jenkins was in fact the chaplain to the British embassy, not the consul. Curiously, this initial confusion on Charlotte’s part, relatively minor in itself, was just the first of the inaccuracies in the accounts handed down on the Jenkins family – the ‘lies’ of Monica Kendall’s book title.

One circumstance about which there seems to be no doubt is that it was Eliza Jenkins who recommended the Pensionnat Heger to the Brontës. Mrs Gaskell, who met her on a visit to Brussels to research her Life of Charlotte Brontë, tells us that the Pensionnat was recommended to Eliza by an Englishwoman at the Belgian royal court, whose granddaughter was a pupil at the school. Eliza, tasked to find a suitable school for Charlotte and Emily by Evan’s clergyman brother in Yorkshire, an ex-colleague of Patrick Brontë’s, had enquired in vain until this recommendation clinched the choice of Brussels just as the Brontës were considering a school in Lille instead. Thus, Monica Kendall claims, ‘If it had not been for Mrs Jenkins, Charlotte would never have gone to Brussels, never met M. Heger. There would be no Villette, no Jane Eyre’.

However vague our previous information on the Jenkinses, the few anecdotes we have of their contacts with Charlotte and Emily throw a vivid light on the sisters themselves. We have Eliza Jenkins’ account of the Brontës as the visitors from hell at Sunday lunches in the Jenkins household, as reported in Gaskell’s Life:

Mrs. Jenkins told me that she used to ask them to spend Sundays and holidays with her, until she found that they felt more pain than pleasure from such visits. Emily hardly ever uttered more than a monosyllable. Charlotte was sometimes excited sufficiently to speak eloquently and well – on certain subjects; but before her tongue was thus loosened, she had a habit of gradually wheeling round on her chair, so as almost to conceal her face from the person to whom she was speaking.

A subsequent biographer, Mrs Chadwick, author of In the Footsteps of the Brontës, also tells a story about the sisters’ taciturnity:

‘The two sons of Mrs. Jenkins John and Edward who were sent to the pensionnat to escort the Brontës when they were invited to their home, declare that they were most shy and awkward, and scarcely exchanged a word with them during the journey’.

This and subsequent versions of the ‘escorting’ story, which isn’t in Gaskell’s Life, appear to have evolved through a process of Chinese whispers. An example is the inclusion of Kendall’s great-grandfather John Jenkins, only seven years old at the time, too young surely for escorting duties. 

Chadwick’s account, published in 1914, suggests that she had it straight from the mouths of Edward and John, and indeed that they were still living at the time of writing. Winifred Gérin, relaying the story, seems to indicate that Chadwick got it directly from Mrs Jenkins. A few dates provided by Kendall show this to be impossible. Mrs Chadwick was born in 1861; she could not possibly have spoken to Eliza Jenkins (died 1864) or Edward (died 1873) and is unlikely to have visited Brussels in time to speak to John, who died in 1894. The true source of the tale was in fact a Brussels resident who had it from Edward Jenkins.

It’s one of several hand-me-down stories repeated by biographers which Kendall, a book editor used to querying and checking every detail, scrutinises and subjects to ‘the trial of common sense’, facts and logical deduction. But her quest for Evan and Eliza Jenkins grew out of more than a scholarly wish to correct ‘fabrications’ and ‘sloppy copying’. Lies and the Brontës is also driven by her sense that the Jenkinses have been ‘largely ignored’ and even disparaged by Brontë biographers.

Have they simply been assumed to be too boring to be investigated? Gaskell hints at this in her Life when she suggests that Charlotte found the Wheelwrights, a family she made friends with in Brussels, more congenial than the Jenkinses:

There was another English family where Charlotte soon became a welcome guest, and where, I suspect, she felt herself more at her ease than … at Mrs. Jenkins’.

The Sunday lunch story doesn’t just show up the Brontës in a bad light; it gives the impression that they didn’t find the Jenkinses worth talking to.

At the start of her research, Kendall, too, was afraid lest she should find her forebears dull and hardly worth investigating. Had they been cultured and interesting, their link with the Brontës would surely have been cherished – yet Kendall stumbled on it by chance. She knew that generations of the family had lived in Brussels, as testified by great-aunts’ albums. She also knew that the Brontës had been in Brussels. But nobody in the family had told her about the connection between the two, and she hadn’t read Gaskell’s Life or Villette. It wasn’t until 2013 – curiously, just as she happened to be copy-editing a monograph that included a chapter on Villette – that a cousin alerted her to an article about the site of the Jenkinses’ house in the Brussels municipality of Ixelles, posted by the Brussels Brontë Group.

The Brontë sisters had known her ancestors! The realisation was the starting point of the quest which resulted seven years later in this amazing book. A quest that took her to Brussels to visit the graves of Evan and Eliza and their sons Edward and John of the escorting story, who eventually succeeded Evan as chaplain; to Wales where Evan Jenkins was born the son of a poor tenant farmer, like Patrick Brontë; to Scotland and the Netherlands on the tracks of Eliza Jenkins née Jay, born in Rotterdam into a family of Scottish merchant traders; to Yorkshire on the trail of Evan’s brother David, Patrick’s colleague at Dewsbury and Hartshead in pre-Haworth days. It was David Jenkins who linked up the Brontës with Evan and Eliza.

The research trail is fascinating in itself. For anyone interested in family history, the notes alone tell an eloquent tale of riches unearthed in archives from Lambeth Palace to Leuven. But Kendall’s pursuit of the Jenkinses was emotional as much as scholarly. By the Jenkins graves, she felt ‘the impossible yearning to be part of a family that might be happier than my own’ akin to the longing of Richard Holmes, when writing his life of Shelley, to be part of the magic circle of Shelley’s family. In Footsteps Holmes describes feeling like a tramp knocking at the kitchen window, hoping to be invited in for supper. In Kendall’s case, the family she was researching was, of course, her own. By their graves at the beginning of her adventure she wondered not just whether she would like them, but whether they would approve of her. Would Evan and Eliza prove to be the kind of people she’d want to join for Sunday lunch?

She leaves no stone unturned in finding out, and the book certainly redresses the lack of information hitherto available on the family. We are told so much, not just about the Jenkinses but those whose lives touched theirs, that at times I had a feeling of information overload, particularly in the first part of the book before Evan’s and Eliza’s paths converge in Brussels. (Eliza’s father started a school there where Evan, as well as officiating as chaplain at the Chapelle Royale, taught before starting one of his own, which was carried on by subsequent generations.)

Happily, the rewards of the book far outweigh any feelings of embarras de richesses and interest is maintained by the lively writing as well as the erudition. Lies and the Brontës is packed with information, anecdotes and above all personalities. A ‘spider’s web of connections’ between apparently disparate lives constantly comes up with surprises, including many famous names.

That there are so many names of writers, apart from the Brontës, is one of the book’s attractions. This despite the fact that the Jenkins family seems to have had little interest in literature, one possible reason for their silence about the Brontës – another may just have been a wish to avoid the attention of curiosity hunters. (Whatever the reason, until Kendall came along no other member of the clan had had anything to say about references to the family in Brontë biographies.) As if in compensation, in Lies and the Brontës Kendall writes of her sense of a ‘thrumming wire’ connecting some of the most celebrated writers of the age through the family story.

Byron and Trollope, to take just two examples. The school started by Eliza’s father was taken over by a clergyman called William Drury who’s a constant presence in the book and was a larger-than-life presence in the British community in Brussels. Drury had been at Harrow with Byron and wasn’t averse to basking in reflected glory as ‘Byron’s playmate’. His school in Brussels was the very one at which the 19-year-old Trollope did a stint as an assistant teacher when his family fled to Belgium to escape their creditors. Rather like the Brontës, Trollope took a job as a teacher to help pay for language classes:

I must … learn German and French … and in order that it might be accomplished without expense, I undertook the duties of a classical usher to a school then kept by William Drury at Brussels. Mr. Drury had been one of the masters at Harrow when I went there at seven years old, and is now, after an interval of fifty-three years, even yet officiating as clergyman at that place. To Brussels I went, and my heart still sinks within me as I reflect that any one should have intrusted to me the tuition of thirty boys 

Trollope lasted just six weeks in the job before being rescued by the offer of a post office clerkship.

Another literary link on that thrumming wire thrills us when a British resident called E. Taylor, a member of the committee that offered Evan the chaplaincy of the Chapelle Royale, turns out to be Edward Taylor of Bifrons in Kent, a man on whom Jane Austen told her sister she had ‘doated’ as a teenager, praising his ‘beautiful dark eyes’. Like so many expats who ended up in Brussels, his presence there seems to have had something to do with money difficulties; he had given up his Kent country house. Apart from the Austen connection, it’s exciting to learn he had a brother in England who was employed in high places … but I don’t want to include too many spoilers.

Like Constantin Heger, for whom teaching Charlotte Brontë was just one episode in a full life, Evan was a very busy man. He and his descendants were at the heart of the British community in the Belgian capital. With schools and churches to run and build (Kendall’s great-grandfather built an Anglican church in Ixelles) the Jenkins dynasty’s failure to mention the Brontës in family annals no longer seems so surprising.

Literary links apart, there are the connections with royal courts. A year or two before Prince Albert’s marriage to Victoria, he and his brother Ernst turn up in Brussels for a study stay; their English teacher is (who else!) Evan’s colleague William Drury. Where Evan himself was concerned, Eliza sometimes worried that her husband lacked ambition. ‘My spouse is very backwards in going forwards’ she writes in a letter about the imminent arrival of Leopold of Saxe-Coburg to take up the Belgian throne; she’s fretting about whether the King will opt to attend Evan’s chapel or one of the other Protestant ones in town. Her ambition must have been gratified when in 1835 Evan, a man born in poverty who, like Patrick Brontë, was a sizar at Cambridge, was appointed chaplain to Leopold I. It’s a thrill to find Evan, on a visit to London, carrying letters from King Leopold to Victoria and Albert. How appropriate for a man whose life is the connecting point for so many others in the book to be employed as a messenger.

Kendall has tirelessly tracked down sources for the Brussels background, digging in little-known memoirs, including witness accounts of the 1830 Belgian revolution. The recollections of Charles MacKay, for example. He was the future father of the novelist Marie Corelli, attended Eliza’s father’s school in Brussels and was in the city when the first stirrings of the revolution broke out.

She is equally tireless in digging out facts and sources in the part of the book that deals with the Brontës’ time in Belgium in 1842-43. In this section she seems to have been guided by Flaubert’s opinion that ‘When you write the biography of a friend, you must do it as if you were taking revenge for him’, admitting that ‘It’s partly true that other than curiosity there has been an element of revenge in my research and writing’. Brontë biographers both dead and living are savaged for inaccuracies (‘lies’) – not just those involving the Jenkinses.

Did the Brontës, like Lucy Snowe in Villette, really travel to Brussels in 1842 not by train but by coach, as claimed by Mrs Chadwick, Gérin and subsequent biographers? Did Mr Jenkins, as also claimed by Chadwick, really accompany Patrick Brontë and the two sisters to the Pensionnat Heger to effect the introductions to Mme Heger? Did Mme Heger really accompany Charlotte to Ostend when she left the Pensionnat for good in January 1844, as claimed by some? Indeed, is it certain or even likely that Charlotte travelled back to England from Ostend? Frequently-told stories about Charlotte and Emily’s Belgian stay are examined and refuted.

Much of interest is added to our knowledge of the Brussels background. We share what Kendall calls ‘the frisson of “only connect”’ when she identifies a schoolfellow of the Taylor girls at the Château de Koekelberg, mentioned in a letter that has often been cited, as a member of the Jenkins family. In addition, she gives new information about the school’s headmistress, Catherine Phelps. Intelligent speculations are offered on ways in which Villette may have drawn on Charlotte’s observations of the Jenkins household, with possible models suggested for the teenage Graham Bretton, the mature Dr John Bretton, and the character of Mr Home.

Lies and the Brontës casts the net wide and encompasses much more than Evan and Eliza’s story, but they are at its heart and the book is a testament that Kendall’s quest was worth the years of labour. The Jenkinses may not have been literary-minded or interested in the Brontës’ novels, but they and their circle do deserve to be better known. By the time I finished the book I, like Kendall, would have liked to be present at Sunday lunch at the Jenkinses’ house in Ixelles, listening to the gossip about the expat British community of which the Brontë sisters were briefly a part, as the fiacres described in Villette rattled over the stony streets outside.

Helen MacEwan

10:06 am by Cristina in , , ,    No comments
Fangoria interviews writer Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
I mean, who hasn’t heard about black mold and how dangerous it can be to your health? It just immediately grabbed me like a little finger of fear. I think it's a great way to base the family curse of a Gothic novel in a scientific reality. 
Yes, and some readers don't like that. That's exactly what turns them off. They think there's sci-fi elements in a horror book. But like I said, Gothic is a malleable category. Frankenstein is also a Gothic novel and it's a sci-fi novel at the same time, even though we can't really make people out of dead body parts. Jekyll and Hyde is also another sci-fi-ish concept. We can't create another personality or person and undergo the changes that happen in Jekyll and Hyde just by taking a drink. But that’s exactly what happens in the novel.
So the Gothic is really the space of confluence of different currents. A space where things can change. I think, for some readers who are just not familiar with it, readers who have only, for example, read romantic novels like Wuthering Heights, they might get angry because it's sci-fi, but it's very true to the genre. Because Gothic is a genre that exists at a merging of different points of view and different ideas. It's not exclusively the domain of one single idea. Unlike other genres, like the western where the borders and the boundaries have been very well-defined, Gothic’s borders are much more porous. [...]
That's another thing that I find incredibly encouraging, because it's also a way of pushing the genre outward. I think that it is the decolonization of literature and the changing of the default. I think it's necessary and makes the novel more vibrant. I am very engaged with Noemi as a character because she's smart and she's strong, but she's not the prototype that most people think of as the strong woman. The non-feminine woman who only thinks of serious things. I was wondering how you came to that characterization?
I was inspired by a great aunt of mine for some of the physicality of the character. But in general, Gothic novels tend to have structure and certain characters that appear in them that are dominant in them. You tend to have a wealthy Byronic male hero in opposition to a female heroine who is submissive to him in one or more ways. Sometimes she's a young bride and he is the man of the house and that’s where the submission comes from. He's at the top of the hierarchy; she is below him. Sometimes it comes in the form of the heroine being somebody who works for him. Somebody who takes care of the kids, basically the nanny or the governess. In that sense, there's always the structural kind of hierarchy going on where the man is the powerful one. He's wildly powerful. The woman comes in and she is not his equal obviously. But then, through love and trials – if it's a romantic Gothic, such as Jane Eyre, they will be united at the end in romantic bliss.
But I didn't want my heroine to come in and be, for example, the maid cleaning the house for this male character. I wanted it to be somebody who would be the social equal of these people, and who, in fact, would kind of stare at them and be a little bit shocked. Someone who would think that [The Doyles] are not superior to anyone. In fact, she would think, 'You live in a dirty old house, what the hell is wrong with you?' Somebody who would be able to have those sorts of interactions, as opposed to if she had been a governess, [or] if she had been getting a paycheck, she probably would never have had Noemi’s attitude and done some of the things that Noemi did.
Noemi does come with a position of privilege, but that also allows her to face the people in privilege and push back at what they're saying, doubting some of what they're saying, precisely because she comes from a different place in life. And so often the characters that are kind of allowed in popular media for Latin American characters or for Mexican characters are either the [nanny] or the servants. Those are the two kinds of positions that popular culture allows us to inhabit. But I know for a fact that as a Mexican, people inhabit all kinds of roles and belong to different socio-economic strata. The fact that we have been put in those two narrow categories doesn't mean that there isn’t more to us. I wanted to show something different that allowed me to do things with the plot that I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. If Noemi’s character had been a maid, she would have probably been dead by page 15 and turned into a zombie.[...]
The template of Lord Byron.
Yeah. So you're going back to [Wuthering Heights'] Heathcliff, and those sorts of characters, also like [Jane Eyre's] Mr. Rochester. Those kinds of characters who inspire fright, as well as desire, in the female characters. It's a very popular character trope, one that we still find nowadays. If you look at 50 Shades of Grey, that character is basically the evolution of the proto-Gothic hero, the dominant hero and the submissive heroine and that kind of dynamic, but he's still attractive, right? In Gothic fiction, that is what you generally find as a male interest for the heroine. That is the guy. (Dolores Quintana)
The Bookseller on what's in store for the Book Club Bunch:
The kernel of the idea for Book Club Bunch (BCB) came from a place very close to home for founder Melissa Haggist. Four years ago she was trying to think of ways of getting her son and his male friends more engaged in reading. [...]
She hit on a relatively simple but seemingly untapped idea: why not start a company of professional actors who will read to children at bookshops and schools in order to really bring books to life? So, in 2017 in the downstairs corner of Waterstones’ King’s Road branch, London, what was then called Book Club Boys was born. After a few successful sessions, Haggist decided to broaden the scope and the model was changed to make the clubs available for boys and girls (and the current company name was introduced) but the core mission remained the same. [...]
Last summer, BCB created a new product, almost 10 hours of online reading and discussions by senior readers, [BCB creative director Matthew] Peter-Carter and Alex White, of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Haggist said: “It captures the energy and accessibility yet elevated nature of our book clubs. We have been approached by a children’s video-on-demand service to license our vlogs, and we are hoping to record more of these for Key Stage 2.”
Peter-Carter adds: “We’re looking to expand our age-range following the success of our Animal Farm club, so we’re looking to add some other classics, like Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” (Nuray Bulbul)
Marie Claire (Spain) still thinks that the novels penned by the Brontës and Jane Austen are no more than old romantic novels.
Si le preguntásemos a cualquier lectora amante de las novelas románticas el nombre de su libro favorito de todos los tiempos, probablemente nombraría el título de algún clásico como Orgullo y prejuicio, Jane Eyre o Cumbres borrascosas. Sin embargo, aunque las novelas románticas clásicas son un must de las bibliotecas de toda fan del género, lo cierto es que los nuevos lanzamientos que recopilamos a continuación han nacido con la intención de hacerse un hueco en sus estantes, codo con codo con Jane Austen o las hermanas Brontë. (Cristina Sánchez de Pedro) (Translation)
Brontë Babe Blog shares an update of her Reading Challenge 2021.
A new Brazilian translation of Wuthering Heights:
O Morro Dos Ventos Uivantes
by Emily Brontë
Translated by Stephanie Fernandes
Illustrated by Janaina Tokitaka
Preface by Ju Cirqueira
Postface by Sofia Nestrovski and  Daise Lilian.
Antofágica
ISBN: 9786586490299
2021

Publicado pela primeira vez em 1847, O Morro dos Ventos Uivantes é um romance de igual beleza e brutalidade. Com múltiplas perspectivas narrativas, o livro toca em temas primordiais para a sociedade, como questões de alteridade, empatia, comunicação e preconceitos. Reconhecido como uma das grandes obras da literatura mundial, o livro já teve mais de 10 adaptações cinematográficas, influenciando também a música pop com a canção de Kate Bush no final da década de 1970.

Nossa edição conta com ilustrações de Janaina Tokitaka e nova tradução de Stephanie Fernandes, que também assina um ensaio sobre sua experiência com a obra. O livro traz ainda apresentação de Ju Cirqueira, criadora do canal do YouTube Nuvem Literária, e posfácios das acadêmicas Sofia Nestrovski, mestre em Teoria Literária pela USP e roteirista e colocutora do podcast Vinte mil léguas (Revista 451), e Daise Lilian, doutora em Letras (UFPB) e professora da Universidade Federal de Campina Grande.
PublishNews (Brazil) recommends it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 7:12 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
Techprincess (Italy) recommends classics to read during the summer months such as
Cime tempestose di Emily Brontë
Cime Tempestose è un classico della letteratura di Emily Brontë, che racconta la storia di un amore distruttivo, quello di Heathcliff per la sorellastra Catherine. Un romanzo brutale, dove domina la violenza fisica ma soprattutto morale. A narrare la vicenda è il signor Lockwood, che quarant’anni più tardi si ritrova a passare la notte nella tenuta “Cime Tempestose”, e incuriosito dalla presenza di strani personaggi, chiede spiegazioni all’anziana governante Nelly Dean. Il racconto della donna comincia dal giorno in cui il signor Earnshaw porta a casa da una sua visita a Liverpool un orfano dalla pelle scura: Heathcliff. Il ragazzo si lega profondamente a Catherine, figlia del signor Earnshaw, ma le differenze sociali finiscono con il separarli, anche se la loro amicizia si è ormai trasformata in amore. Catherine sposa il ricco e gentile Edgar Linton, pur amando disperatamente Heathcliff, e quando questi viene a conoscenza del matrimonio, furibondo, giura vendetta. La sua passione è così violenta da indurlo alla distruzione degli Earnshaw e dei Linton. Su Amazon Prime Video trovate anche il riadattamento cinematografico di questo capolavoro. (Martina Ferri) (Translation)
The Middletown Press also has a recommendation:
For readers looking for more twists on classic stories, consider reading Rachel Hawkin’s modern take on “Jane Eyre” in “The Wife Upstairs.” (TinaMarie Craven)
Mariskal Rock (Spain) interviews British singer/songwriter Billie Marten and asks her about her Yorkshire origins.
Procedes de un lugar tan místico como Yorkshire, un sitio que algunos únicamente conocemos por aquellas descripciones evocadoras de Emily Brontë en ‘Cumbres Borrascosas’. ¿Ha afectado eso de alguna manera a tus canciones?
“Oh, adoro como lo has explicado (risas). Es una zona no demasiado poblada, con gente sencilla que confía en la naturaleza todo el tiempo, por eso la mayoría viven en granjas y gran parte de su actividad se basa en la agricultura. En este contexto, es normal que la naturaleza sea tan relevante para mí, en lo musical, eso sí, tampoco había demasiado movimiento por allí, por lo que tuve que encontrarme a mí misma”. (Alfredo Villaescusa) (Translation)
Financial Times features Northern Ballet’s artistic director David Nixon, who has announced he will be stepping down at the end of this year:
Nixon was certainly prolific — 13 ballets in 20 years — but he also strove to find and promote young choreographers. Cathy Marston has made three works for him: A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre and Victoria, 2019’s ballet biography of the Queen and Empress. (Louise Levene)
Business Up North announces a new initiative:
Freshwalks, the outdoor networking and workplace wellbeing business, has announced a collaboration with Huddersfield-based Tink Adventures to offer a regular programme of walks for the West Yorkshire business community, building on its success in other regions.
The first will take place on Friday 18 June and is a 17km hike around Malham Tarn and Malham Cove, near Skipton. This will be followed, on 23 July, by a 13km walk beginning in Haworth, which will take in the Brontë waterfalls, Lower Laith Reservoir and a section of the Pennine Way. (Stuart Anderson)
12:35 am by M. in    No comments
A recently published Ph.D.:

Lexical relation in Jane Eyre novel by Charlotte Bronte : A semantics analysis
Rondonuwu, Ayu Rosemarie Getsemani (2021)
Sarjana thesis, UIN Sunan Gunung Djati Bandung

Novel is a narrative work of prose fiction (Prahl, 2019) It has a long story where the author shares their experiences or it may someone else’s. Lexical relation is the study of how lexicon is managed and how the lexical meanings of lexical items are related each other. (Saeed, Semantics Fourth Edition, 2016, p. 56) This research examines the lexical relation in Jane Eyre novel by Charlotte Bronte using the Semantics theory by John Saeed and several supporting theories and sources. The research method used is qualitative method because it relies on the text. (Cresswell, 2014, p. 232) This research analyses the kind of lexical relation and the most frequently used lexical relation and the findings of this research is. The researcher found 10 data of omonymy, 12 data of polysemy, 29 data of synonymy, 20 data of antonymy, 6 data of hyponymy, 1 data of portion mass.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Monday, June 14, 2021 7:04 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
It's all about places where Anne Brontë didn't actually stay. On a list of '10 of Britain’s best pubs with rooms in spectacular walking country',  The Guardian claims that,
In the Yorkshire countryside between Harrogate and York, this smart, food-focused pub [The Alice Hawthorn, Nun Monkton, North Yorkshire] recently added accommodation for the first time. The old Grade II-listed stone building sits on the village green of Nun Monkton, on the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Nidd, whose prime attraction is England’s tallest maypole. Really it’s the walking that people come for. Trails from the door are depicted in the pub’s handy booklet, including a substantial eight-miler to the Monks House, where Ann[Sic] Brontë lived with her brother Branwell. (Gemma Bowes)
Well, it was only Branwell staying at Monk's House. Anne slept in the main house, Thorp Green Hall.

And according to Yorkshire Live, the Grand Hotel in Scarborough
opened in 1867 and has welcomed guests including Winston Churchill, author Anne Brontë and poet Edith Sitwell. (Charles Gray)
Just the date alone gives it away, since Anne died in 1849. There's a Blue Plaque with her name on the façade but it says that Anne 'died on a house on this site'. So not the actual Grand Hotel, but a previous building called Wood's Lodgings (No. 2, The Cliff).

'Four Portraits of Charlotte Brontë' on AnneBrontë.org
12:30 am by M. in    No comments
Some recent Brontë-related scholarly research:
by Gabrielle Kirilloff,  Peter J. Capuano and Julius Fredrick " (2018). Faculty Publications - Department of English. 202.


This research examines and contributes to recent work by Matthew Jockers and Gabi Kirilloff on the relationship between gender and action in the nineteenth-century novel. Jockers and Kirilloff use dependency parsing to extract verb and gendered pronoun pairs (“he said,” “she walked,” etc.). They then build a classification model to predict the gender of a pronoun based on the verb being performed. This present study examines the novels that were categorized as outliers by the classification model to
gain a better understanding of the way the observed trends function at the level of individual narratives. We argue that while the classifier successfully categorized and identified novels in which characters behave unconventionally—that is, in ways not typical to the corpus as a whole— the rhetorical effects of these unconventional novels (and the extent to which their authors openly question nineteenth-century gender norms) vary based on other factors of characterization and narration. We propose that the combination of machine and human reading that this essay utilizes provides a productive model for allowing distant reading to guide and provoke traditional humanities scholarship. 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sunday, June 13, 2021 11:23 am by M. in , , , , , , , ,    No comments
The Times reviews the latest Archive on 4 episode on BBC Radio 4:
Reardon, as his much-interrupted work on his memoirs attests, is an unreliable narrator, which was the topic of yesterday’s entertaining, inventive Archive on 4, presented by the stand-up and writer Stewart Lee. Lee begins his journey “walking along Cecil Court”, off the Charing Cross Road, which when Lee first arrived in London was lined with second-hand bookshops. “But do you trust me? Do you think I’m really on Cecil Court? Or would it be more impressive if we’d fabricated this with some clever sound design that I can just switch off?” Cue silence. “Or if we’d fabricated it, couldn’t we have fabricated something more impressive or atmospheric?” Cue howling winds and Lee shouting: “Somewhere like the Yorkshire moors, where I might speculate, loudly, on the persona of Nelly Dean, whose not necessarily trustworthy reminiscences Emily Brontë used to frame the story of Wuthering Heights.” (Patricia Nicol)
Gender in literature in The Deccan Herald (India):
Being an author myself, in a family of three sisters — all writers — I felt rather flattered when someone once referred to us as the Brontë sisters (I suspect, as a joke rather than a compliment). But since sales of my books are never going to reach Wuthering Heights, I am wondering whether to quit writing safe pristine pure rom-coms, and much like Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë — who earlier called themselves male names like Currer, Acton and Ellis Bell all to avoid being recognised by their neighbours — I too will choose a macho sounding male name and secretly write torrid prose for a living. But till then, I will rely on my luck at where I am placed in bookstores. (Indu Balachandran)
A reader of The Telegraph & Argus recommends the novel
Skulduggery set in Haworth circa 1600.
We all know how famous the Brontë sisters are but am sure Paul Rushworth-Brown – the 21st-century author ­– might soon be joining these literary giants.
A must-read novel too for anyone visiting Haworth. (John Ackroyd, Haworth)
More Haworth-related things. Like this Fair Trade shop in Haworth as described in The Telegraph & Argus:
 Haworth is the perfect place for the shop, says Rita. “We have a close, supportive community but also visitors from all over the world, along with spectacular scenery and the added attractions of the Brontë Parsonage and steam railway. (Helen Mead)
Diario de León (Spain) presents the recently published Cumbres Borrascosas. El Amor más allá de la muerte book about Wuthering Heights 1939: 
La editorial Reino de Cordelia publica, dentro de su colección Snacks de Cordelia, un recorrido gráfico por la novela más veces llevada al cine de las hermanas Brontë, Cumbres borrascosas. Escrita bajo el influjo del romanticismo de Lord Byron, la novela de Emily Brontë ha sido adaptada al cine en varias ocasiones. Alicia Mariño repasa esas películas, especialmente la dirigida en 1939 por William Wyler, con Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier y David Niven. Una historia que lleva a sus máximos extremos el amor y la venganza despiadada del amargado Heathcliff, quien, tras hacerse rico, regresa al territorio de su infancia para recuperar su amor. (Translation)
nmz (Germany) mentions the German premiere next year of Gordon & Caird's Jane Eyre The Musical in Nordhausen:
Als einen der Höhepunkte der neuen Spielzeit bringt das Haus am 1. April nächsten Jahres das Musical «Jane Eyre» als deutsche Erstaufführung auf die Bühne. Paul Gordon und John Caird adaptierten für ihr im Jahr 2000 am Broadway uraufgeführtes Musical den gleichnamigen englischen Erfolgsroman von Charlotte Brontë aus dem Jahr 1847. Das Stück erzählt vom Streben nach Unabhängigkeit in einer von Männern dominierten Welt. (Translation)
El Salvador (El Salvador) talks about Gothic literature and Industrial Revolution: 
Friedrich Engels publicó The Condition of the Working Class in England en 1845 y en 1847 es publicada la novela gótica para todas las épocas, Wuthering Heights, que habla sobre la desolación moral en el campo del norte de Inglaterra y la traída, como regalo, desde la ciudad de un niño encontrado y recogido de la calle, Heathcliff. Es escrita por una niña joven y soltera, Emily Brontë. (Katherine Miller) (Translation)
NDR's eat.READ.sleep (Germany) discusses several books, including Wuthering Heights
 Deutlich kontroverser geht es beim Klassiker zu: Emily Brontës "Sturmhöhe". Und im Quiz wird’s diesmal laut!

A columnist of Vanguardia (México) recommends Wuthering HeightsThe Yorkshire Post reports how the dancer Samantha Pippa Moore, who created the Young Cathy role in the Northern Ballet's production of Wuthering Heights, has received an MBE.

12:30 am by M. in , ,    No comments
An online alert for tomorrow, June 14:
Monday, 14th June 2021, 19:00 – 21:00

Programme:
Simon Bainbridge, Four Primo Levi Settings (1996)
Susan Lolavar, Girl (2017)
Ian Pace, Matière: Le Palais de la mort (2021) (WP)
Peter Maxwell Davies, Eight Songs for a Mad King (1969)

Ian Pace's new work Matière: Le Palais de la mort, inspired by visions of the piano playing of Emily Brontë and the musical/sonic dimensions of the Brontë family, completes the programme.

The composer shares his views on the piece on his blog:
This piece began to form in my mind at the time of a visit to Haworth Parsonage in summer 2019, looking round the house and in particular the square piano in one of the front rooms, and collections of music owned by Emily and Anne Brontë in particular. After reading further about the musical dimensions to the Brontë family, I began to form fantasies in my mind of a certain bombastic playing on the part of Emily (the most talented pianist of the siblings), incorporating some of the (then) popular pieces which she and Anne had in her collection, and developed an interest in creating a work of music which would be unquestionably from the present day, but incorporated aspects of the music which would have been heard in the Brontë household. (Read more)

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Saturday, June 12, 2021 9:50 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
According to Yorkshire Live, The Black Bull is Haworth's 'most haunted' pub.
The Black Bull pub is one of the oldest pubs in Yorkshire with its history traced back to the 16th century - and is said to be haunted.
The current pub, situated next to the Anglican Church of Haworth is known as the home of the Brontës - the nineteenth-century literary family.
One of the Brontë brothers [sic], Branwell, was known to visit the Black Bull a bit too often.
Branwell was an alcoholic and opium addict.
He would while away his days drinking copious amounts in the bar before dying aged 31.
According to legend, in death it would seem that he has found it difficult to stay away from his favourite haunt.
A bell that remains within the pub which Branwell used to ring when he wanted served another drink - the bell is rang before closing every night.
Various owners have even claimed that they have awoken in the middle of the night upstairs to hear it ringing, and upon going downstairs to investigate - having found no one there.
There is also an original chair (or a replica, depending on who you speak to) which was said to belong to Branwell and his ghostly shadowy figure has been seen on various occasions sitting in it, and then suddenly disappearing.
Just outside of the pub, Branwell’s spirit is said to be seen crossing the cobbles of Main Street to the old chemist where he would be served his laudanum. (Charlie Wilson)
Ben Macintyre writes an essay about holidays as a British tradition in The Times and quotes Charlotte Brontë:
About 40 British spa towns followed, but these were primarily places for recuperation, not pleasure. In the summer of 1839 Charlotte Brontë, working as a governess in Skipton, Yorkshire, wrote to a friend about her holiday plans. At the age of 23 she had never visited the coast, never seen a beach or waves. The prospect of a trip to Bridlington, 80 miles away, was thrilling: “The idea of seeing the sea — of being near it — watching its changes by sunrise, sunset, moonlight and noonday — in calm, perhaps in storm — fills and satisfies my mind. I shall be discontented at nothing.”
In fact, Brontë found the whole holiday experience overwhelming. The author of Jane Eyre “was quite overpowered, she could not speak until she had shed some tears . . . her eyes were red and swollen, she was still trembling . . . for the remainder of the day she was very quiet, subdued and exhausted”. Which of us has not felt the same at the end of a holiday?
Also in The Times, Laura Freeman talks about the 'nonsense' novels of Stephen Leacock:
Gertrude [the Governess: Or, Simple Seventeen] is a send-up of the sort of novel — Pamela, Jane Eyre, many, many Mills & Boons — in which a penniless, parentless, prospectless maid, governess or winsome dependant gets a position at a Great House where she encounters a Great Man. Will they? Won’t they? Can you guess? The tension is . . . immaterial.
Wigan Today reports that poet and playwright Lemn Sissay has received an OBE. Asked what he would say to young people in care today:
"Harry Potter was a foster child, Superman was also fostered, Jane Eyre, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. We can celebrate the nature of children and care inside popular culture inside literature, but also as our next-door neighbours.” (Laura Harding)
Extra (Ireland) on the questions in the English Leaving Cert Paper II.
Other literary works to feature on the paper included Sebastian Barry’s Days Without End, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and William Shakespeare’s King Lear and The Tempest. [...]
Ms Tuffy, an English teacher at Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo, said this year’s Leaving Cert English Paper II was well pitched, being both challenging and rewarding. She said Thursday’s paper offered a very different experience to what is normally quite gruelling three-hour, 20-minute examination.
‘Those students who opted to take today’s exam will perhaps feel vindicated given the sheer scope of choice afforded them,’ she said. ‘While those who studied Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale will have considered the impact of the dystopian aspects of the narrative, others will have explored how “Gothic aspects of the novel increase or diminish the narrative power” of Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.’ (Helen Bruce)
From Variety:
In the Netflix TV series “Bridgerton,” Regé-Jean Page plays Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, a throwback to previous heartthrobs in literature — ranging from Heathcliff in Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights” to Mr. Darcy in Jane Austin’s “Pride and Prejudice.” But the 31-year-old actor didn’t want the character to be stuck in the past.
“And so, in carrying the torch, we need to make some ground with it,” Page tells “The Crown” star Emma Corrin in Variety’s Actors on Actors TV issue, on newsstands now. “Because Simon’s an archetype that already exists. He’s Darcy. He’s Heathcliff. He’s a tall, dark, brooding, emotionally stunted man.”
In building the character — based on Julia Quinn’s novels set in 1800s England — for modern audiences, Page tried to subvert previous tropes associated with toxic masculinity seen in literature. (Ramin Setoodeh)
Infobae (Spain) shares the Spanish translation of an essay by Lydia Davis on her literary influences.
Debía de tener trece o catorce años cuando vi por primera vez una página de Samuel Beckett. Me quedé helada. Llegué a Beckett después de leer las acaloradas novelas de Mazo de la Roche (aunque no tan acaloradas como para que no pudieran formar parte de una biblioteca escolar muy decente para niñas) y las novelas románticas más clásicas, como Jane Eyre y Cumbres borrascosas, así como los textos de impronta social de John Dos Passos, el primer autor cuyo estilo noté y disfruté con plena conciencia. De pronto, tenía entre manos un libro, Malone muere, en el cual el narrador pasaba una página entera describiendo su lápiz y el primer desarrollo de la trama era que se le caía el lápiz. Nunca me había imaginado algo semejante. (Translation)
1:26 am by M. in ,    No comments
An alert from Scarborough for today, June 12.  
Rowan Coleman, Books by the Beach 2021
Saturday 12 June, 1pm - 2pm
St. Mary's Church
Hosted by Gerry Foley

BELLA ELLIS is the Bronte inspired pen name for best selling author ROWAN COLEMAN.

Rowan is the author of fourteen novels including The Memory Book. She will be introducing us to her enchanting and humorous mystery series where the Brontë sisters turn detectives before they become famous authors. Join Rowan to be transported back in time to a fictional Victorian England.


Friday, June 11, 2021

The Strad shares the world premiere of Cathy Marston's Bertha.
Bertha’, choreographed by Cathy Marston (the brain behind the ROH’s The Cellist) in collaboration with Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet, explores the psyche of Bertha Mason, the love-scorned antagonist of the novel ‘Jane Eyre.
With a score for violin and handpan, this origin story of ‘the woman in the attic’ marks the latest chapter in Marston’s ongoing exploration of her full-length ballet ‘Jane Eyre’, which the Joffrey debuted in 2019.
Direction: Cathy Marston, Tim Whalen
Choreography/Story: Cathy Marston
Music by Errollyn Wallen, Published by Errollyn Wallen © 2021 All rights reserved
Film Featuring: Joffrey Artists Christine Rocas as Bertha, Dylan Gutierrez as Rochester, Jeraldine Mendoza as Jane Eyre/Young Bertha Score
Performed By: Sara Trickey — Violin, Rosie Bergonzi — Handpan
Music Recorded and Mixed By: Gerry O’Riordan, at The Soundhouse Studios, London Rehearsal Director: Suzanne Lopez Costumes: Patrick Kinmonth Produced By: The Joffrey Ballet, Big Foot Media.


Some contributors to Book Riot shares the assigned reading that changed their lives and one of them has picked
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
I took AP English my Senior year and one of the books we were assigned was Wuthering Heights, and my sweet giddy aunt, I hate that book with a fiery passion. I don’t understand why it’s touted as one of the best love stories because there are absolutely no likable characters in this book. Heathcliff out-emos even Hamlet and Catherine is just the worst. This, plus my feelings against Hamlet and anything that Joyce wrote (just to shame a few) helped me to realize that I can be an awesome English major and still loathe some of the things that are still taught to this day in English classes everywhere. On a positive note, I also read Ellison’s Invisible Man in that class, so it wasn’t all bad.
—PN Hinton
The Corvallis Advocate interviews local writer Kate Hope Day.
TCA: Do you have a favorite book that you would wish everybody had read? 
Day: My favorite Victorian novel is easily “Jane Eyre,” and “In The Quick” is a very loose retelling of “Jane Eyre,” which if you haven’t read [it] recently, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to know it for the book. But if you are a person that loves “Jane Eyre,” you will get the little Easter eggs in “In The Quick.” I definitely was inspired by that kind of character when I was writing “In The Quick,” that’s sort of the character that you love them, but you can see them making their own lives so difficult just by being who they are. And “Jane Eyre” is always my quintessential example, but [there are] a lot of great ones.  
I think Arthur Less from the novel “Less” definitely falls into this category. From television, “Fleabag” is definitely like that. You’re just sort of shaking your head at her, but also you’re rooting for her, you’re [thinking], “no don’t, don’t do that.”  
So “Jane Eyre” has always been a favorite of mine. And it was a big inspiration for “In The Quick” in terms of the novel that I push into everyone’s hands and say, you know, you’ve got to read this book if you’re a human being. (Sally Lehman)
A columnist from De Volkskrant (Netherlands) shares a conversation about Wide Sargasso Sea with his brother.
Goed punt, zei die. De broers hebben erna nog vaak gedebatteerd of het ook mis kan gaan, als je van tevoren helemaal niks weet. ‘Neem Jean Rhys’, zei ik. ‘Niks verklappen’, zei Mike. ‘Maar ik moet toch een voorbeeld geven?’ ‘Ja, maar zonder iets te verklappen, graag.’ ‘Oké... haar beroemdste boek, Wide Sargasso Sea, gaat verder waar een ander beroemd boek ophoudt.’ ‘Zeg maar één keer hardop welk ander beroemd boek’, onderbrak Mike zijn grote broer, ‘dan lees ik dat wel even eerst, voor ik aan die Jean Zaragoza begin.’ (Lezersvraag: over welk boek hadden de anaaltjes het? De uitgever verloot er weer eentje, de schrijver m/v niet, waarom niet mag ik denk ik niet verklappen.) (Peter Buwalda) (Translation)
Still in the Netherlands NRC features the 1911 novel Een revolverschot by Virginie Loveling.
Steeds zijn er ook andere krachten, is er die onderstroom van duistere elementen die we kennen uit de gothic novels van Ann Radcliffe, Emily Brontë, Mary Shelley en vele andere schrijfsters die het bovennatuurlijke en de horror hebben gebruikt om te kunnen schrijven over de werkelijkheidservaringen van vrouwen. (Manon Uphoff) (Translation)
Ahram Online (Egypt) features Wanas Al-Kotob (‘The Companionship of Books’) by Mahmoud Abdel-Shakour.
Essentially, this 350-page volume is a very generous selection of book reviews. It is generous in terms of the number of titles that Abdel-Shakour decided to introduce to his reader. It is also generous in terms of the diversity of the selection.
Abdel-Shakour divided his book into five sections that go through Egyptian novels, Arab novels, short stories, poetry, and foreign literature and memoires.
The division is safe and sound, but within that division there is perhaps what could be called some subdivisions that might have been all unintentional.
Several of the titles that Abdel-Shakour included in his recent volume relate profoundly to the issue of generations and their moral bonds: the generation who survived the defeat of the 1967 war and the one that lived through the rise and fall of the January 2011 Revolution.
There is Sahar El-Mougy’s ‘Misk Al-Tal’ (‘The Hill’s Musk’), which has two previously coerced literature female characters, Amina of Naguib Mahfouz and Catherine Eranshaw of Emily Bronte, trying to help Mariam to get out of her hopelessness and onto her feet, practically on the eve of the January Revolution. (Dina Ezzat)
Articolo 21 (Italy) features the stage production Gentleman Anne as part of the festival Lecite/Visioni at the Teatro Filodrammatici di Milano.
Figura emblematica, la Lister è al centro delle ricerche letterarie dell’appassionata Joe, che è del resto convinta anche dell’omosessualità delle sorelle Brontë o di Jane Austen. (Amelia Natalia Bulboaca) (Translation)
Metal Hammer has Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt sum up his life in 10 songs.
I was determined to try and make each song a masterpiece so I tried to listen to only masterful music – things like Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights where you’re almost embarrassed to be trying to write guitar parts around it. (Rich Hobson)
World News Mania shares '5 Life Lessons You Can Learn from Classic Literature Books'. Well, perhaps the first life lesson you can learn is to remember which book was written by which author.
Like Jane Austen did with Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Emily Brontë created a strong, self-possessed female protagonist in Jane Eyre who was many years ahead of her time. The book begins with her being punished for not smiling and prancing around like children are supposed to do—but little Jane refuses to fake her emotions.
Throughout the novel Jane faces various trials, but nothing will stop her from going after what she wants. When she leaves Mr. Rochester, she tells him, “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will”. Young readers will aspire to be as unabashedly themselves as Jane. (Paul Willson)
Mangialibri (Italy) posts about Wide Sargasso Sea.

A scholar book with a couple of Brontë-related essays:

My Victorian Novel
Critical Essays in the Personal Voice

Edited by Annette R. Federico
University of Missouri Press
ISBN: 9780826222077
June 2020

The previously unpublished essays collected here are by literary scholars who have dedicated their lives to reading and studying nineteenth-century British fiction and the Victorian world. Each writes about a novel that has acquired personal relevance to them––a work that has become entwined with their own story, or that remains elusive or compelling for reasons hard to explain.
These are essays in the original sense of the word, attempts: individual and experiential approaches to literary works that have subjective meanings beyond social facts. By reflecting on their own histories with novels taught, studied, researched, and re-experienced in different contexts over many years, the contributors reveal how an aesthetic object comes to inhabit our critical, pedagogical, and personal lives.
By inviting scholars to share their experiences with a favorite novel without the pressure of an analytical agenda, the sociable essays in My Victorian Novel seek to restore some vitality to the act of literary criticism, and encourage other scholars to talk about the importance of reading in their lives and the stories that have enchanted and transformed them.

Including: 

Identifying as a Reader by Andrea Kaston Tange on Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

The Hand of Fate by Annette R. Federico on Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Thursday, June 10, 2021 7:04 am by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments

While looking forward to Emma Rice's stage adaptation of Wuthering Heights, The Stage has a great article summing up many of its adaptations so far.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to Rice’s adaptation of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, a collaboration between her company Wise Children, the National, Bristol Old Vic and York Theatre Royal, which will play the National’s Lyttelton next February as part of a UK tour.
The middle of three surviving daughters of six children born in an isolated 19th-century Yorkshire village, Emily Brontë rivals Rick Astley as one of the world’s greatest one-hit wonders. (And yes, okay, she also published poems but then Astley released other singles too – but can anyone name one?)
Wuthering Heights, her only novel, faced stiff competition – it was published in 1847, the same year as Jane Eyre and Agnes Grey by her sisters Charlotte and Anne respectively. That’s a feat of literary timing that not even the Mitfords or the other famous novelist sister act, AS Byatt and Margaret Drabble, could pull off.
The prize for the most concise adaptation goes to Kate Bush
Emily died within a year of Wuthering Heights’ publication at just 30, so she never got to spend her royalties. They would have been quite something since not only has Wuthering Heights never been out of print but it has inspired countless other versions.
The prize for the most concise adaptation goes to the four-minute, 27-second version by Kate Bush. [...]
Having watched Ian McShane being suitably young, bad-tempered and torrid as anti-hero Heathcliff opposite Angela Scoular’s Cathy in a BBC TV version, Bush read the novel and – trivia alert – discovered she and Emily shared a birthday. She wrote the song, still her biggest hit, in one night.
It’s not the only musical adaptation. Bernard Herrmann, one of Hollywood’s greatest composers who scored everything from Citizen Kane to Taxi Driver via seven Hitchcock films including Psycho and Vertigo, turned it into an opera. Sadly, aside from the ravishing, oft-recorded aria I Have Dreamt, it turns out that dramatic word-setting was not Herrmann’s strength.
Bernard J Taylor also wrote a musical version, recorded but rarely staged in the UK. And then there was the now legendary sight of the bewigged 56-year-old Cliff Richard in the title role of Heathcliff – the Musical uttering the deathless line, as reported in the Independent after the premiere in Birmingham’s packed, 4,000-seat National Arena: “I shall be as dirty as I please. I like to be dirty.” Diehard fans might like to know that the DVD of the 1996 live show is available on Ebay.
Since 1920 and the release of the first (silent) version, Wuthering Heights has barely been off the screen in at least three mini-series, six TV films and more than 12 big-screen versions. I want to hear from anyone who has seen Jacques Rivette’s 1985 French version Hurlevent, 1988’s Arashi Ga Oka – set in medieval Japan – or 2019’s Venezuelan Cumbres Borrascosas.
So happily, no one can get upset that Rice will be messing with an untouched masterpiece. It frees her to do what she does best: reimagine a classic. I can’t wait.  (David Benedict)
BBC News, The Huffington Post, and Daily Mail just to name a few all mourn the death of actor Ben Roberts, who played Mr Briggs in Jane Eyre 2011.

Onirik (France) reviews the 2019 French translation of Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna and Ramon K. Pérez.
Avis de Nadia
Il est très délicat de s’attaquer à moderniser un monument de la littérature anglaise tel que le roman Jane Eyre. Il n’est pas rare de voir des modernisations parfaitement réussies, mais tel n’est pas le cas ici. Dans cette adaptation, nous retrouvons le personnage de Jane, une jeune fille sans famille car ses parents sont décédés. Obligée d’aller vivre chez sa tante (qui boit un peu trop), elle subit ses cousins qui ne cessent de lui faire sentir qu’elle n’est pas la bienvenue chez eux.
Jane a cependant une passion, le dessin. Elle s’exerce dans cet art depuis son plus jeune âge et elle décide d’aller poursuivre son rêve à New York. Très vite, elle trouve un travail, jeune fille au pair auprès d’une jeune enfant dont le père, un homme d’affaires, est peu présent, Mr Rochester.
Vous l’aurez compris, dans cette adaptation seule l’époque change. Les personnages conservent leurs statuts sociaux, Jane est une jeune femme forte qui manque d’assurance, et Mr Rochester est un homme puissant mais mystérieux. il est entouré de tout un tas de personnes à son service, mais aucun d’entre eux ne souhaite aider Jane dans sa quête de vérité. Ils sont parfois très froids avec elle, chose qui change nettement du roman initial, si l’on pense au personnage de madame Fairfax.
La trame initiale suit son cours, et le lecteur peine grandement à s’attacher à Jane, à Mr Rochester ou même au personnage d’Adèle.
Les dessins sont réussis si l’on aime le style épuré, mais parfois trop grossiers pour être bien perçus par le lecteur. Cette bande dessinée n’est pas un réel échec, car il est toujours intéressant de voir des chefs d’œuvre de la littérature être repris pour être mis au goût du jour. Ici, si l’intrigue n’est pas une surprise, le lecteur ne peut pas se reposer sur des personnages attachants ou des dessins agréables.
Avis de Claire
Jane Eyre est le premier succès de Charlotte Brontë, publié en 1847. Largement inspiré par sa propre expérience, elle met en scène une héroïne orpheline, pauvre, courageuse mais plutôt malchanceuse jusqu’à sa rencontre avec un homme entouré de mystère qui va bouleverser sa vie.
Dans cette adaptation moderne, Jane est toujours orpheline, ballottée de famille d’accueil en marin-pêcheur pour mettre de l’argent de côté, et surtout très douée en dessin. Avec ses économies, elle s’offre un aller sans retour pour l’attractive New York.
Lorsqu’elle répond à une énigmatique petite annonce, elle est bien loin d’imaginer que sa vie et son coeur vont se retrouver complètement chamboulés. Son nouveau job l’amène à s’occuper de la petite Adèle, négligée par son père, un homme très riche, et surtout très secret.
La version d’Aline Brosh MacKenna est vraiment libre, ne reprenant finalement l’intrigue originelle que dans ses grandes lignes. C’est moderne aussi, car Jane vit en son temps, et quand elle commence une histoire d’amour avec son patron, elle n’est pas farouche. Puristes, attention !
Ramon Pérez et Irma Kniivila ont une approche intéressante, calquée sur l’avancée de l’intrigue. Ainsi, après une triste enfance en noir et blanc, la couleur s’impose-t-elle petit à petit, au gré des étapes qui jalonnent la vie de Jane, avec un maximum de couleurs quand tout semble lui réussir.
Une adaptation très réussie, qui revisite avec beaucoup d’originalité une oeuvre intemporelle. (Translation)
Finally, on The Sisters' Room, Maddalena De Leo reviews the forthcoming book Walking The Invisible by Michael Stewart.